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West African Food
West African food is a cuisine that combines smokiness with the spicy flavors of peppers and umami sauces, earning it a top spot on this year’s foodie hot list. With its nutrient-rich plant profile, gourmand flavors, and repertoire of simple recipes, we could even say that West African cuisine has the holy trinity of qualities we need during these uncertain times: healthy, tasty, and easy to cook at home. Food writer and recipe expert Freda Mambo introduce us to her native West African flavors and shares ten essential dishes that will transport you to the region in less than a few chilies.
What Defines West African Cuisine?
Although it is easy to find standard features throughout the region, from Nigeria to Senegal, each country’s cuisine uses different versions of the same ingredients, except for chilis, a daily spice of daily use when preparing typical dishes from all over West Africa. Because of these heavenly grains, much of West Africa was once called the Pepper Coast. So when other chili pepper varieties introduce about 450 years ago, brought to the African coast by Europeans via the American, they accept throughout the region. Likewise, many variants of Capsicum annuum survive today, especially Bonney peppers.
Tomatoes, also introduced to Africa from the New World, another widely accept variety that has add to countless dishes. However, to give an example, Nigerian cuisine tends to omit them in favor of paprika-like capsicum, known as Natasha.
Other ingredients that help create West Africa’s distinctive aromas and flavors include red palm oil, peanuts, smoked fish or crab, ginger, and Dawah or ire (fermented beans).
Traditional dishes, stews or soups often serve alongside locally sourced starches such as rice, sweet potatoes, plantains, cassava, corn or millet. It is common for the starches to be beaten into a dough that then steam. The video below shows how sweet potatoes churn, demonstrating the fascinating transformation of the starch and fibers that achieve.
An African West African Food Taste at Home
The best way to like West African cuisine is by sampling some of the region’s most popular dishes. The following ten containers offer a gateway to that kitchen and can prepare at home, perhaps substituting an ingredient or two.
Light Soup Ghanaian light soup, often served with whipped sweet potatoes ( fufu), is a countless way to get to know traditional West African soups. It is a meat broth with large amounts of protein in the form of tomato, chicken, beef or goat. The preparation process is simple. Just fill a pot with chicken or other meat, add onions, tomatoes, and chilis, and let the broth cook. (As you cook these recipes, you’ll recognize the pattern: the trio of onions, tomatoes, and chillies form the basis of much West African stew.) Once the vegetables are soft, remove them, crush them, and put them back in the pot until cooked. This soup can be helped alone or with bread. You can also boil vegetables and add them to the soup to create a complete dish. Another of the most typical soups is pepper soup,
2. Jollof Rice
Rice has become one of the favorite dishes in this region. However, a particular rice dish reigns over all others and is considered the star dish. Jollof rice is bright orange and steamed in a tomato sauce flavoured with herbs, spices, and bouillon cubes. You can also add carrots, peas, meat, and fish. This is the festive dish of West Africa, especially in Ghana and Nigeria. You’ll often find it at weddings or street food stalls with huge steaming kettles of Jollof rice. You can add roasted chicken, fish stew, and side dishes such as plantains or a tasty steamed bean pudding to serve it. Follow this recipe to prepare a typical Nigerian jollof rice for a party.
If you travel to Senegal, at the other end of the same western region of Africa, you will find the origin from which Jollof is inspired. It is called thieboudienne or razz au poison . Thieboudienne, Senegal’s national dish, is a complete assortment of rice in tomato sauce and vegetables with marinated fish. If you have tried Jollof and liked it, this dish is even more delicious.
4. Watches (Waakye)
This typical Ghanaian dish of rice and beans call watch (waakye), and it is one of the most typical street foods in the area. The rice, cooked with cowpeas (pinto beans), serve on a banana leaf along with a thick meat stew, a hard-boiled egg, and spaghetti. The combination is simply delicious. It also often serve condiment based on hot dark peppers called Shinto.
Now that we have introduced cowpeas (pinto beans), we see just how important they are in this region. Cowpeas are also an indigenous ingredient, so many typical dishes are made with them, which, in turn, gives us an idea of what used to be eaten in this region 500 years ago. “ red ”, a Ghanaian bean stew, is a quick and easy dish that is very popular in this region. It usually serves with ripe fried plantains and deliciously served with rice or other high-protein grain such as quinoa.
The Fufu, the West African Food Bread
Fufu is a culinary preparation similar to a ball or cake from Ghana but spreading throughout Central and West Africa. It is an essential food, such as bread for us, and it serve as an accompaniment to sauces and stews. To make it, roots and tubers such as yams, taro or cassava cook. In with a high content of starch (depending on the geographical area, one or the other use). In then they are laboriously ground in a large wooden mortar.
Couscous, the Delight of the North
Couscous or couscous dish cooked with wheat semolina accompany. If by olives, saffron, nutmeg, olive oil, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, red meat, vegetables and different spices typical of each country. It is a traditional Berber dish, typical in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria or Egypt. This preparation consists of durum wheat semolina grains, medium in size, one millimetre in diameter, and all the mentioned ingredients.
Matoke, the Mixture of Meat and Plantain of West African Food
This Ugandan preparation consists of puree cook green bananas mixed with meat, spices and some vegetables. The purée can serve separately, as a garnish, or stewed with the heart. Which can be poultry, veal or pork. This stew is also famous in Kenya, and in other countries. A Matoke prepares without meat to accompany different types of dishes.
Kachumbari, La ensalada West African Food
Kachumbari is a caring of onion and tomato salad in general. In the kitchens of the Great Lakes regions of Africa (as in Kenya). The onions are cut into little cubes, and chilli, tomatoes and salt add. In Kenya, cook goat or beef meat. It adds to this dish; even in coastal areas, they add pilaf rice.
Injera, the Ethiopian bread
Made with a gluten-free cereal called teff, injera is a bread that is eaten. It may part of Africa, although it is trendy in Ethiopia. It accompanies the vast majority of meals (stews, meat dishes, fish, legumes, and vegetables) and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
The cuisine of the African continent is as unusual as it is healthy since. Most of it develops with natural products. Historical Arab influences are seen in African food. If North African food has features of European cuisine. It is a vast continent, with a great diversity of local dishes that vary from region to region. If being able to find words with meat and others that do not use it. The same could suppose of foods such as fish or dairy products.